Toru Sato Graduate Theories of Personality

Theories of Personality: Theme - Consciousness & Spirituality PSY 515 (Graduate Course)

Shippensburg University

Course Director: Toru Sato

Course description:

This course involves an in depth examination of how understanding the major theories of personality and consciousness may help us in our personal growth process. It will also investigate how these experiences of personal growth may relate to a wide variety of esoteric spiritual traditions. Students will be encouraged to examine their own personalities and think about how their environment and consciousness has both shaped and is shaped by their personalities. It will also examine how we can transcend the limitations of our current personalities in order to facilitate our own maturation process. Although students are not required to be religious to enroll in this course, it is assumed that they are open to the idea that some spiritual teachings may beneficial in facilitating their growth process.

Enrollment Requirement:

Since this is a graduate course, the instructor will assume that all students already have an understanding of the basic theories in Personality Psychology from past undergraduate courses taken on this topic. For students who have never taken an undergraduate course on Personality Psychology, it is highly recommended that they read the online textbook entitled Personality Theories by Boeree, C. G. (2006: listed below) as soon as possible.

Required Reading:

Boeree, C. G. (2006). Personality Theories (online textbook available at (for pdf version, go to

Silverstein, S. (1964). The Giving Tree. NY: Harper-Collins (Library Reserve).

Recommended Reading:

Brach, T. (2004). Radical acceptance: Embracing your life with the heart of the Buddha. NY: Bantam.

Gunaratana, H. (2002). Mindfulness in plain English. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go there you are. NY: Hyperion.

Lao Tzu (1992) Tao te Ching (trans. S. Mitchell). NY: Harper-Collins.

Richo, D. (2002). How to be an adult in relationships: The five keys to mindful loving. Boston: Shambhala.

de Saint Exupery, A. (1943). The little prince (trans. K. Woods). NY: Harcourt Brace.

Siegel, D. J. (2010). Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation. NY, Bantam.

Smith, H. (1991). The world's religions: Our great wisdom traditions. NY: Harper-Collins.

Walsh, R. (1999). Essential spirituality: Seven central practices to awaken heart and mind. NY: Wiley.

Watts, A. (1966). The book: On the taboo against knowing who you are. NY: Vintage books.

Welwood, J. (1997). Love and awakening: Discovering the sacred path of intimate relationship. NY: Harper Perennial.

Optional Items

Students are welcome to bring yoga mat and/or cushion/pillow for the meditation exercises in class.

Link for an article for a class discussion (please see syllabus) 



Students will work on a project for their own personal development and evaluate themselves by reflecting on their own progress at an exit interview at the end of the course.  Although it is not required, students are welcome to create their own assignments and solicit feedback from the instructor throughout the course. 

Electronic Devices:

Please turn all electronic devices off and place them in a non-visible location during class time. 

Discussion Topics
Leaving Home (The Earthly Self)
Object relations, Attachment & Personality Development
Facing the Existential Void   
Processing Emotions
Returning Home (Rediscovering the Heavenly Self)
Meditative & Contemplative practices
Duality of Existence: Marriage of Heaven & Earth
Helping others Grow
Love & Service

APA Format Links:

Purdue University

Vanguard University

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